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  • Preventable Hospital Admission Rates Dropping

    In a mostly all-good-news report, the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) says that rates of preventable hospitalizations for acute and chronic conditions are dropping across the country, with a 14% overall decline recorded between 2005 and 2011.

    The estimates, based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, looked at admission rates "for certain acute illnesses or worsening chronic conditions that might have been avoided with the delivery of high-quality outpatient treatment and disease management." AHRQ estimates that potentially preventable hospitalizations accounted for about 10% of all hospitalizations in 2011—a marked decrease from rates in the last study conducted.

    Among the findings:

    • The overall 14% decrease includes a 20.2% drop in admissions for acute conditions and a 9.5% drop for chronic conditions.
    • All regions of the country showed declines in potentially preventable admissions, with the South showing improvement from a 2005 rate that was 17.2% higher than the national average, to a 2011 rate that has been reduced to 10.5% above the national number.
    • Remote rural areas reported a potentially preventable admission rate 57% higher than the lowest rate reported (small metropolitan areas) in 2011.
    • Potentially preventable admissions for chronic conditions did not drop as dramatically overall, except in the South, which saw a 16% decline—though the South's chronic condition admission rates are still above the national average.

    Rates for acute conditions were tied to admissions for dehydration, bacterial pneumonia, and urinary tract infections; rates for chronic conditions were linked to admissions for diabetes, angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

    APTA offers a webpage on the role of the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant in reducing hospital readmissions. Check out the page for links to videos, audio courses, patient education materials, and articles on readmissions.

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